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SOCIAL    AND    POLITICAL    LIFE            183
scholars as a class entitled to privilege and extra courtesy, and with the difficulty of acquiring a knowledge of the Chinese written characters, this respect comes from the bottom of their hearts.
But do the scholars deserve this respect? Mental labour is decidedly higher than manual labour, and the inequality really seems quite natural. The conquest of the animal kingdom by mankind was based on man's greater cerebral development. Through his mental development, he justified his supremacy over the animal world. But, of course, one can ask the question whether^om the animak* point of view, man has the right to take away the mountain forests from the lions and tigers and rob the buffalo of the prairie. The dog might agree, bui the wolf might think otherwise. Man justified it merely by his greater cunning, and the scholar in China did the same. He alone knew the treasure of knowledge, he alone knew history and the law, and he alone knew how to murder a man by the dexterous use of one word in a legal brief. Learning is so complicated that respect for it is natural. He and his kind form the so-called "gentry" class in China. To continue the forest analogy, the gentry are the parasites^ which have a way of reaching the top of the highest tree without great effort, and all Chinese banyans are surrounded by such parasites. In other words, they can reach the trees and whisper a kind word for the sap of the earth, incidentally pocketing a commission. More than that, they often undertake from the tree the duty of draining the sap of the earth.
This is the so-called "tax monopoly system" which is ruining both the financial condition of the people and the national revenue itself. These tax monopolies are the feeding ground of the local gentry, an evil which has been greatly aggravated since the establishment of the Republic. Actually, a tax monopoly which is bought out from the city government at thirty thousand dollars a year yields two to three times its price. The sap goes to nourish the parasites. The pity of it is that the people are duped without any benefit to the govern-